Liberals Can’t Read Graphs, Pt. 2

Just as they can’t tell when there’s a downslope, and read flat lines as downslopes, so do liberals think 7% is zero.

Here is an important chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:


The only possible reading of these data is that capital always wins, and has been winning bigger since the ongoing Carter/Reagan Restoration began. But notice: Even in the supposed Golden Age of alleged equality, labor’s compensation growth rate was only 93% of its productivity growth rate. And remember, too, that productivity growth is based on final sales, not just worker pay, so each percentage point of growth there yields a larger absolute amount of money than does any corresponding growth of employee compensation. Hence, even if the growth rate of wages were equal to the productivity growth rate, capitalists would still be winning. But such equality has never existed in the USA since the end of World War II. Even in its supposed heyday, labor was clearly and substantially losing the race.

The plain fact is that the only time in the corporate capitalist epoch that inequality has not grown was World War II, when the state ran the economy and full employment existed.

Nonetheless, the official reading of the above chart is this: “Since the 1970s, growth in inflation-adjusted, or real, hourly compensation—a measure of workers’ purchasing power—has lagged behind labor productivity growth.”

Don;t you just love special pleading?

8 Replies to “Liberals Can’t Read Graphs, Pt. 2”

  1. Yeah, it’s an uncomfortable situation… I can sympathize… (as long as there is self-loathing, otherwise, no). When the most viable options for making a living as a middle class, and staying in the middle class, involve being an upper class lackey in 1 of the 3-4 possible forms, the lesser evilisim is truly the highest intellectual aspiration possible. As one of my twitter heroes just observed (it is funnier in context): WHEN PEOPLE START THEIR POLITICAL THOUGHTS OFF WITH “BUT THE REPUBLICANS” I KNOW YOU’RE BASIC (lol).

  2. What’s to do though? There is no escape hatch from politics (and history). Ridiculing liberals is important, but it will hardly ever make a dent in the overall discourse. There is no way to bypass parties or hierarchies in pursuing change. But at the same time all accessible parties are thoroughly subordinated to the oligarchy, with no subject of progressive change in sight, just dependent, mostly demoralized, mass.

    I’m reading some poli sci defenses of politics and partisanship, and can’t make up my mind if this is the truth or being good class lackeys.

    How do the Marxists solve this problem? Or have they given up? Or all the hopes are on the third world rising?

  3. Comments sectons, I’ve found, are a real rough on rational discourse. Questions go begging.
    The marxists have solved no problem, being devotees of an ancient, mystical art.
    “Hope” is a now-discredited term. The supersystem wins in the end. The “Third-World” is not going to rise, except to get more of what the First World has, as evidenced by the extractive policies of Correa, Morales, and the still alive Chavez.
    Whither socialism?:

  4. Martin, you can still attempt to rationally explore conceivable scenarios, even if they are dead ends.

    This debate on historical change has been had for centuries, and it doesn’t particularly matter if you chalk it to great men of history, the unfolding of systemic forces – either way systemic change happens, and it will be true even if one accepts your premise that the current supersystem by design squashes any attempts for change or ammelioration – even left to its own devices, it will still change into something else eventually. What is clear is that changes are never completely random, so it surely is not a waste of time to ask what are the possible sources of such change.

    You can replace ‘marxists’ in the above musing with any other current that has a vision of society requiring some sort of leap byond the present constraints. Say what you will about them, but where they have erred is in the political consequences of the contradictions of capitalism. Their diagnosis of the contradictions has held up pretty well.

  5. Naming ideas after men (or women) is a bad idea. There are plenty of new noises we can make, and ways to represent those noises with the Latin alphabet, to keep from having to use recycled, factory-system surnames to identify new places, people, or social movements.

    “Marxist” would be an appropriate moniker for people who followed Marx the man, but it is not appropriate for those who merely subscribe to some of his ideas.

  6. The possible sources of change are Google, Pepsi, Putin, – you know, the usual array of big-actor power, manifesting its corruption even in the putative opposition.
    Cynicism is by definition warty ing, but damn has it got the future right. TCT could go on and on documenting the evidence, and it will, but it is up to a few stalwarts to interpret the evidence.

  7. No argument here. I suppose the only question is whether elites and their system is, for the first time in history, are powerful enough to withstand looming external or internal challenges. It certainly may be, with so much technology, weaponry, and organization at their disposal – but every single major civilization to date in history has failed precisely because elites have persisted in patching up the status quo at any cost, rather than entertain possible strategies for adjustment. It is clear that this is the chosen route today as well – but will it be able to withstand the pressures of pauperization, ecology, and resources?

    As for marx and marxists, I suppose the label is unnecessary, especially given that some things not anticipated by marx happened, but the overall logic and critique is still so solid, that I am still hesitant to surrender this type of identity entirely.

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